Besan (Gram Flour) Sev, A Hot and Crispy Gram Flour Vermicelli Snack
Besan Sev is one of those snacks that you can find all over India, even in little tea shops in villages. Every housewife in North India used to make them at home until recently. Now of course they are available ready-made in packets. They are quite simple to make, you only need a ‘sev maker’, a gadget similar to vermicelli maker. Mine is a 40 years old, brass, with a selection of plates that make different shapes of sev. It looks like an old fashioned coffee grinder. Makes approximately 500 gm.
500 gm. potatoes
150 gm. or 1 cup of besan or gram flour
3 level tsp. salt
2 level tsp. chilli powder (heat is lost somewhat during frying)
1/4 tsp. heeng/hing or asafoetida powder
1 tbs. mustard or cooking oil
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 -3 cups oil for deep frying
A wok or kadhai
Boil potatoes in their skin until soft. You can do this in a microwave. Place potatoes in a sandwich bag, add 2 -3 tbs. water, seal partly, with space for steam to escape, and cook on power 800 for 6-7 minutes. Cool, peel and mash.
Place all ingredients, except ‘oil for frying’, and make a soft dough. You don’t usually need to add water, but if you do, add very little at a time.
Heat oil to medium heat. If you fry on high, the sev will burn very quickly.
Fill sev maker with the dough and drop sev directly into the hot oil in a circular fashion, evenly spread out in the oil, so they do not form clumps. Turn over once or twice gently and fry until dark golden (not brown).
Take out with a slotted spoon and place on a few layers of old newspaper, for the oil to be absorbed.
Cool completely, break them up a little and store in an airtight jar.
You can make sev with besan alone (no potatoes), you will need to add 1 tsp. baking powder (not soda bicarb).